There are many benefits of rubber mulch. Many people’s practices for gardening and landscaping have altered since rubber mulch was first introduced to the market. The process has divided those who support it and those who oppose it.
People who doubt its effects present a variety of justifications, such as a lack of organic “aesthetics” (look and feel) or concerns about harming their plants with unobserved chemicals. On the other hand, individuals who believe rubber mulch provides particular advantages also provide compelling arguments (chief among them being the reduction of carbon footprint).
Let’s examine the benefits and drawbacks of rubber mulch for your plants.
Benefits of Rubber Mulch
Insulates Against Heat
One of the biggest benefits of rubber mulch is its insulation properties. It effectively insulates against heat. Compared to wood chips and other organic materials, rubber mulch is more effective in protecting plants from heat. It is especially useful in “indoor” gardens like sunrooms and solariums because it doesn’t decompose and smell rotten.
Keeps Insects Away
Insects won’t be drawn to it. Rubber is not a desirable material for insects to nest in or gnaw on, unlike earth and wood. Ants and termites, in particular, fall under this category. Some people even use rubber mulch around their dwellings as a form of insulation to ward off insects.
You will want pollinator plants in your garden! Here are some of the best plants to attract pollinators.
Prevents Fungus and Weed Growth
Rubber mulch can prevent fungus growth in plants because rubber does not absorb water. Since the “nuggets” made of shredded rubber tires are non-porous, water and fertilizer can travel through them and reach the soil beneath them. Weeds are unable to grow on rubber and are unable to penetrate the mulch layer to the soil.
It never ends. Well, maybe not forever, but considering how slowly rubber ages, you should be able to enjoy the landscaping material for many years without having to spend money or worry about topping it off every year.
It Doesn’t Move
It remains put. Rubber mulch is much heavier than any organic mulches or water, so it won’t easily shift or float away during a downpour. This makes rubber mulch a great alternative for the bottom of a garden bed! Check out some other options here!
There are Plenty of Design Alternatives
Rubber mulch offers more alternatives to match existing landscape components because it comes in various earthy tones and designer hues. Rubber mulch tends to maintain its color for up to ten years, unlike colored wood mulch.
It requires little upkeep. Because rubber mulch is more dense and durable than biological mulches, it requires less upkeep and replenishment, saving time and money.
More Bang for Your Buck
It offers twice as much coverage. While initially more expensive, rubber mulch can effectively control weed growth with a 1.5-inch depth instead of 3 inches of organic material.
More Environmentally Beneficial
Rubber mulch for landscaping is created from used tires. By using this material, you may avoid using landfills and spare no trees in the process.
There’s no denying that rubber mulch has plenty of benefits. If you’re interested in buying some, I highly recommend this option!
Disadvantages of Rubber Mulch
It Doesn’t Decompose
Since rubber mulch is not biological, it does not break down and will not add organic matter to the soil.
It Has Harmful Chemicals
Contrary to popular assumption, chemicals can be included in rubber and wood mulch. Some wood mulches are produced using commercial pallets, some of which may have had contact with chemicals. Of course, chemicals are used in the production of rubber. Both studies and mulches themselves vary. Zinc is the most frequent component discovered in rubber mulch that may impact soil. Zinc occurs naturally in soil and can impact soil quality depending on the amount present. In some US regions, the native soil contains enough or even high quantities of zinc, whereas, in other regions, there is a zinc deficiency. If unsure, you can want to check the amount of zinc in your soil before choosing the appropriate product.
It’s not Organic
Despite the wide variety of natural hues available, some people choose the authentic appearance and texture of actual earth, wood, or stone.
Is Rubber Mulch Right For You?
Your needs will determine if rubber mulch is the appropriate choice for you or not, particularly if insulation or insects are a concern. Rubber mulch has some major hazards, such as harming soil health and heavy metal contamination, so you will need to consider the advantages and disadvantages. However, there are many benefits of rubber mulch.
Interested in reading more about organic gardening? Check out all of our resources!